Ezekiel 20-21 James 5
“Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days.” (James 5:1-3 NCV)
James has an issue with wealthy people, or so it seems. In the second chapter he warned about favoritism towards the wealthy with a reminder that the wealthy folks were the ones oppressing Christians. In this section he warns the wealthy of great misery to come upon them because the wealth in which they’ve trusted, specifically silver and gold, are corroded. Moths will eat their fine clothes and all the wealth that they’ve stored up will work against them. As he continued, he pointed out that in many cases, they earned their wealth by cheating and oppressing poor people. As we understand what James was saying, we begin to understand God’s understanding of wealth. Wealth earned by cheating and oppressing others will burn a hole not only in your pocket, but also your soul.
This concept of money is probably unAmerican where wealth is seen as the ultimate measuring stick of the quality of a person. If you have faith and live well, God will bless you real good. If you’re in poverty, then there’s obviously something wrong with your faith or your life. Accumulation of stuff is a truly American goal – or don’t I need to mention that on Black Friday? The problem we have with wealth is that too often we act as if we forget that everything belongs to God and that if He blesses, if He entrusts us with a small part of His wealth, He expects us to use it to bless others. We have all kinds of people today who will tell you how to get wealthy – some from a religious perspective and others from a worldly perspective. There are a lot fewer people who will tell you how to give it all away. That book wouldn’t sell in America. So, we have all kinds of people chasing wealth and a much smaller number giving it away. What’s really interesting is that we can give it away a lot easier than we can accumulate it. So go ahead and try to accumulate wealth honestly and ethically. In the meanwhile, search for ways to give away what you have to glorify God and build His kingdom.
Lord, there’s so much stuff that tempts me out there. I want to get it all. I want to get more once I get it all. Remind me that it’s better to stand before you with nothing because I’ve shared Your blessings with others, than to have a suitcase full of paving material.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.